To help your dog cope with their fear of thunderstorms, you can try the following.

Creating a Safe Space

It’s crucial to establish a quiet, secure sanctuary where your dog can find solace during the unsettling sounds of thunderstorms. This could range from a cozy crate outfitted with a comforting blanket to obscure any visual stimulation, to a sound-dampened basement where the roar of thunder is less intrusive, or even a serene room devoid of windows to eliminate visual triggers.

This space should be familiar to your dog, accessible at all times during a storm, and filled with their favorite comfort items—be it a beloved toy or a well-worn blanket—to help instill a sense of security and calm.

Distraction Techniques

For dogs whose fear of thunderstorms is manageable, engaging them in diverting activities can prove beneficial. This could involve initiating a playful game that captures their attention, conducting a training session to mentally stimulate them, or providing them with their cherished toy.

The goal is to shift their focus away from the distressing noises and towards positive, enjoyable interactions. It’s about creating a distraction robust enough to overshadow their fear, even if just for a moment, making the storm seem less threatening.

Utilizing Calming Products

The market offers a myriad of products designed to soothe and comfort anxious dogs. Items such as thunder shirts, which apply gentle, constant pressure akin to a comforting hug, calming sprays and diffusers that emit soothing scents, or even special treats formulated to help ease anxiety, can all be valuable tools in your arsenal.

Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning

Embarking on a journey of desensitization and counter-conditioning with the guidance of a professional dog trainer or a canine behaviorist can lead to transformative results.

This process involves gradual exposure to the sounds of thunderstorms in a controlled manner, aiming to lessen your dog’s fear response over time.

Coupled with counter-conditioning, which associates the once-fearful experience with positive outcomes (like treats or play), it can significantly mitigate the anxiety your dog feels during thunderstorms. It’s a methodical approach that requires patience and consistency but can profoundly improve your dog’s quality of life.

Consulting Your Veterinarian

In situations where your dog’s fear escalates to severe anxiety, resulting in panic attacks or destructive behaviors, it’s imperative to seek advice from your veterinarian.

There are instances where behavioral interventions alone may not suffice, and your vet can evaluate whether medication is appropriate to help manage your dog’s fear. It’s a step not taken lightly but can be necessary for your dog’s well-being and safety, ensuring they remain calm during particularly distressing episodes.


By adopting a multifaceted approach that combines creating a safe space, employing distraction techniques, undertaking desensitization and counter-conditioning, consulting with veterinary professionals, and utilizing calming products (here’s our Vets top 3 calming dog treats), you can significantly alleviate your dog’s fear of thunderstorms. Each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another, so it’s important to tailor your approach to suit your dog’s specific needs and fears.

Categorized in:

Dog Behaviour & Training,

Last Update: April 9, 2024